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    Long Time Lurker Saying Hi!

    Hi everyone, I'm a long time lurker here and decided I would jump in and tell you my 2020 bankruptcy story. I've posted on the FICO forum, so if you read there some of my story may sound familiar. My journey started in January 2020 where my credit cards were heading to be maxed out with minimums way more than I could fathom every month. I also was paying on a personal loan I took out 3 years ago. All in all my minimum payments for 8 credit cards and the loan was $2400. All the meanwhile I was paying for everything on those credit cards and I knew the cycle was never going to end. I was kind of put into the situation after being diagnosed with a potential terminal disease and as Tim McGraw said "live like you are dieing". Yeah I did that and horribly regretted it when I realized I could still have many good years to live and nothing is a given. Now how do I get out of this! Looking at my finances there was no way I could do it without getting a second job in which I think would have killed my body. So I do some research and I think I'm the right candidate for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

    February 2020. I had a phone consultation with a local bankruptcy attorney, who actually charged me $100 for this consultation. He was to be one of the best in the area. Ok then! We go over my debts and he asks me for last year's tax return reported income. I give him that, I'm a candidate for a chapter 7. Awesome. I spend a weekend getting all my documents together and submit them all to the paralegal. Before you know it..it's COVID time and they closed their office and accepted no phone calls.

    Crickets till April. Meanwhile through all of this I'm reading about lawyers handing petitions while still shut down. BUT I'll stay the course and continue this crazy cycle until they open back up. Finally I hear back from the paralegal, write them a $2300 check, and here we go! Until that day I get a phone call from the attorney saying "You make too much, sorry, you don't qualify!" In a very rude tone at that. It was then I realize I picked the wrong lawyer. He goes to explain that my main income isn't the problem, it's my self income that puts me over the means test. I brought up that you said I was good, what gives? I'm dejected, accept I'm stuck, and forget about it! But on my tax return I'm able to use my expenses to bring down my income. You can't do that with Chapter 7? According to that lawyer or his ears were clogged, no. He out of courtesy did return my retainer check.

    It was about mid-June. At this point I took out a $8000 loan from my 401k as a band aid to maybe figure this all out. I got to thinking and started emailing several new bankruptcy attorney's about my case. At this point I had did my research and found out YOU CAN use your expenses to drop your income in which would pass the means test. I'm bouncing this off a few people, many who just wanted me to get a retainer for them to even considering working on my case. So I decided to email back the attorney who shot me down. I got a very RUDE email back "SIR I already told you I can't help you, please find another counsel". Wow! So back to Google!

    At the beginning of July I find another attorney with good reviews, although about an hour from home. I call them up, get the assistant lawyer who says yup, sounds like you do qualify after explaining my expenses to my side business. A week later I write another $2300 check and off we go! I submitted all my info and after a few questions from the paralegal, my Chapter 7 petition was ready to go. I went in a week later, met with the attorney who assured me my petition looks totally normal and there should be no issues. The only downfall is that this law firm only files bankruptcy petitions at the end of the month. So I was FINALLY filed August 27th and my MOC was scheduled for 10/21.

    What I did learn is and my advice to anyone consider filing is be sure to fully interview your potential attorney. In all my madness I also had done some online gambling in which he wanted to use winnings also added to my income to further worsen my situation! At the end of the day I had enough losses to cancel that out which several future attorney's agreed that is how I should proceed. He also was judging me because of the gambling and ultimately I had quit that and was there for help.

    I'm SUPER excited for the MOC in 2 weeks and ready to turn this page. My bankruptcy should be discharged right before Christmas, what a Christmas gift this will be! Since the day I filed I've never slept better. Don't think you failed, this is going to allow me to live my best life without being anchored down by the ChaseBOADiscover's of the world. I definitely will update if anything else exciting happens in my case, but I surely hope not!

    #2
    welcome and good luck
    www.BankruptcyForum.com

    Comment


      #3
      Welcome and we’ll be waiting to hear how your case progresses...good luck.
      Filed Chapter 13 - 07/20/12
      Discharged 8/2/16

      Comment


        #4
        You have some great points and it's wonderful you are sharing your story for those who are considering bankruptcy and even those of us who are in bankruptcy. I totally agree finding the RIGHT attorney helps SO SO much. We were lucky to find ours on our second one, but the firm was referred by a friend so that made it easier she was the only person I have told we were considering it because I knew many years before I knew her she went through it. What I didn't know was she was in the process of starting up a second Chapter 7. The attorney we have is very well known and has so much experience it's not funny. But the attorney/firm is not one that pops up when you Google or has big advertisements so I wouldn't have probably looked at them first.

        Welcome and keep us updated on your case!

        Comment


          #5
          I’m now 24 1/2 hours from my phone MOC! I am not nervous as I’ve done enough research to know it’s nothing to lose sleep about. Excited to get it done and over with though!

          After reviewing my petition for the 5th time this weekend I noticed a possible error. I currently have a car lease through Chase which I’m planning on reaffirming. Schedule A/B lists your vehicles whether you are financing or leasing. My attorney listed this as “No”. After doing some research it seems some attorneys will do this as it’s not property and nothing the trustee can take. It is listed on my statement of intentions and the unexpired lease form. I have the question out to my attorney whether I should bring it up at the MOC or if he listed it that way on purpose.

          I definitely will update tomorrow how it goes!

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by FreeIn2020 View Post
            After reviewing my petition for the 5th time this weekend I noticed a possible error. I currently have a car lease through Chase which I’m planning on reaffirming. Schedule A/B lists your vehicles whether you are financing or leasing. My attorney listed this as “No”. After doing some research it seems some attorneys will do this as it’s not property and nothing the trustee can take. It is listed on my statement of intentions and the unexpired lease form.
            This is one of those areas where district or attorney specific practices are different. For what it's worth, some leases actually have value and some Trustees may see the value.

            Chapter 7 (No Asset/Non-Consumer) Filed (Pro Se) 7/08 (converted from Chapter 13 - 2/10)
            Status: (Auto) Discharged and Closed! 5/10
            Visit My BKForum Blog: justbroke's Blog

            I am not an attorney. Any advice provided is not legal advice.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by justbroke View Post
              This is one of those areas where district or attorney specific practices are different. For what it's worth, some leases actually have value and some Trustees may see the value.

              They won’t want this one, I’m so upside down trading every two years. (The new me is running this one till the end to change that!) Plus my new credit score won’t be very inviting for them to want me back so soon..ha

              So my attorney said since I have the car listed on the schedules to not worry about it. If it’s brought up he will handle it. I sometimes forget I paid him $2,000 for a reason! His paralegal sent me a list of common MOC questions which I’m already aware of and ready to go!

              Comment


                #8
                Pretty cool. And yes, a smart Trustee knows when to run, not walk, away from something.
                Chapter 7 (No Asset/Non-Consumer) Filed (Pro Se) 7/08 (converted from Chapter 13 - 2/10)
                Status: (Auto) Discharged and Closed! 5/10
                Visit My BKForum Blog: justbroke's Blog

                I am not an attorney. Any advice provided is not legal advice.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Just finished my phone MOC. My attorney was late and I had to wait for someone else to go before me. In those 5 minutes he did mine and 2 other people. It literally felt like a production line, send them on down the line! He deemed it a no asset case and it’s done. Onto the next phase, reaffirming the car, and discharge for Christmas!

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Congratulations ...sounds like it went well..good luck as you go forward!!
                    Filed Chapter 13 - 07/20/12
                    Discharged 8/2/16

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Just a quick update on my case. I logged into PACER this morning to find my discharge was GRANTED! Best Christmas gift ever!

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Congratulations on the Discharge! Next stop is, Case Closed (still a few months out for you).

                        So what are your plans now? Are you planning on living credit free for some number of years, or are you wanting to start rebuilding your credit as soon as possible?
                        Latent car nut.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Congratulations and Merry Christmas..all the best going forward!!!
                          Filed Chapter 13 - 07/20/12
                          Discharged 8/2/16

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by shipo View Post
                            Congratulations on the Discharge! Next stop is, Case Closed (still a few months out for you).

                            So what are your plans now? Are you planning on living credit free for some number of years, or are you wanting to start rebuilding your credit as soon as possible?
                            Thank You! I’ve decided to get a card to start to have for hotel incidental charges. I got one from Continental Finance with a $500 limit. Garbage $100 setup fee and $10 monthly fee, but it’s something to get started. Once I get my feet back on the ground I hope to get something better and cancel this one. But I’m in no hurry to go crazy with credit. I’ve been digging my debit card lifestyle since August and plan to continue for the most part.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              FreeIn2020, I ran into the same "Garbage Card" issue earlier this year when thinking to start rebuilding my credit after my discharge; in an effort to avoid things like a $99 annual fee and $10 monthly fee, I originally opted for a CapitalOne Secured card which gives you a credit limit of something like $151 more than your security deposit, up to a max of $849/$1,000, deposit/credit limit respectively, and with no signup, annual, or monthly fees. Given my monthly cash flow is well over that limit, the card was impractical so I paid it off and closed it in favor of a high limit secured card from my bank.

                              My advice to folks just getting restarted and have no need of a high credit limit, the CapitalOne Secured Card is super easy to get and serves the purpose of getting restarted. For those who need a higher line of credit, many banks, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and TD Bank among them, offer Secured Credit Cards with high limits ($5,000 for most, and a whopping $10,000 for Wells Fargo). The cool thing about these cards is, like the CapOne card, the fees are either non-existent or very minimal (like $29 for the first year with a pro-rated rebate if you behave and have the card switched to an unsecured card).

                              Regarding a debit card lifestyle, yeah, I get that; given I had to stop using credit cards back in 2013, I went nearly seven full years without a credit card; the only real issue I had was trying to rent a car at a major airport; no debit cards allowed. Now that I have not one, but two credit cards, one secured (for a few more weeks before it is unsecured) and the second unsecured, both offering "Cash Rewards", I use them like a debit card in that I pay them in full every month. The two benefits of this are the positive impact on my credit rating, and of course, the cash rewards (they're not huge, but hey, just this year alone I've earned $200 in cash rebates; easily enough to take my wife out for a nice dinner).
                              Latent car nut.

                              Comment

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